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Scott Dekraai

O.C. prosecutors' jailhouse snitch scheme needs a thorough investigation

O.C. prosecutors' jailhouse snitch scheme needs a thorough investigation

One of the girders buttressing the American criminal justice system is the right of people charged with crimes to have an attorney and to have that lawyer on hand when questioned by investigators and prosecutors. Within that framework, courts have held that investigators can't plant jailhouse informants in cells with, or next to, defendants in the hope of eliciting incriminating statements. The legal reasoning, which is sound, is that in such circumstances the informants are acting as agents of the police, and their attempts to engage defendants in conversations circumvent the right to have counsel present during questioning. Separately, prosecutors also must divulge any information...

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